On Day 2 of the HRPA 2012 Conference the Luncheon Key Note Speaker was Kevin Carroll speaking to a packed audience of HR professionals about Rediscovering Play, Bringing Fun and Passion to Your Work and Life.
Kevin told us the heart wrenching story of his early childhood. His father left when he was a toddler. One day, his mother, who suffered with addiction issues, picked up Kevin and his older brother from school, and along with his youngest brother, drove out of town. Kevin was only 6 years old. After driving a very long time, she leaves the three boys in a trailer telling them to stay there. Finally after a few days and no mom, the boys get enough courage to leave the trailer to ask someone for help. Luckily, their grandfather made sure they memorized his phone number.
“I just want to play.”
His grandpa tells Kevin and his brothers that they would have shelter, food, and love, but would have to “raise” themselves. Kevin, always being big on questions asked, “What does “raise yourself” mean?” After learning the meaning of that statement, Kevin said, “But grandpa, I just want to play.”
Kevin overcame adversity as a child through play.
Kevin goes to a neighbourhood park and finds a red rubber ball. He is all alone so he makes up a game. He kicks the ball as hard as he can, and then runs furiously after the ball. It was his way of coping (and I’m sure, a way of getting all that anger and hurt out of his system). Soon the neighbourhood children notice him and ask, “What are you doing with that ball?” Next thing you know, they are all playing ball, and little Kevin feels a sense of connection and of belonging. He had discovered the power of play.
A small red rubber ball saved him.
His passion for play and asking questions help Kevin build a successful and diverse series of careers that take him all over the world. In fact, Nike hires Kevin, without having a defined position for him, because of his passion and creativity, and he becomes a Nike “Katalyst.” The 2001 award winning Nike “Tag” commercial (filmed in Toronto, Ontario) was created during his time at Nike and illustrates his passion for “play.”
Highlights from Kevin’s presentations include:
- Questions are good. Courage to ASK is a big life – work lesson. ASK!
- Courage is shown in acts and dares to do what is right.
- Hire for passion & creativity. The rest will fall into place.
- Kids see opportunity not an obstacle. A box becomes a ship or fort. We all speak “ball” as in play.
- Play is a great business tool for collaboration and creativity.
- Play initiatives are using play to make the world a better place. (Initiative – Kick a ball and turn on a light).
- As HR professionals we need to keep our shine on. We need energy to problem solve.
- Technology is here to amplify YOU. Not control you. It should not trump face-to-face connection.
- Keep your eyes up. You need to look around to connect with others.
- Keep your shine on. Keep your passion and energy.
- Try random act of kindness to connect with others.
- Haters are just confused admirers. Don’t let them take your “shine” away.
- We all have the capacity to do amazing things with passion, purpose and intention.
Kevin challenges us to find our own little red rubber ball and find our passion at work and life.
So what’s your red rubber ball? What keeps your “shine” on?
(P.S. Kevin’s books sold out after the presentation and he stayed for hours signing books and talking to his new Canadian HR fans!)
Posted by Joanne Royce
Photo credit: @kckatalyst